Germo Gericke, Ariceum Therapeutics, tells DDW’s Megan Thomas about his work in radiopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and offers valuable advice to others in this field.
1. Where do you work, and can you tell us what you’re working on at the moment?
I am the Chief Medical Officer at Ariceum Therapeutics, a private company focused on developing novel targeted radiopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer.
Our lead product, Satoreotide, is an antagonist of the somatostatin type 2 receptor which is overexpressed in several tumours. We are developing satoreotide as a ‘theranostic’ pair for the combined diagnosis and targeted radionuclide treatment.
Our second therapeutic product, a novel 123Iodine radiolabeled PARP inhibitor (rPARPi), is ready to enter clinical development in recurrent glioblastoma patients and we plan to expand the development into other PARP expressing tumours.
Through our partnership with UCB Pharma, we explore additional new targets to develop first-in-class radiopharmaceuticals to continue expanding our pipeline beyond the two lead assets.
2. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Over the past 15 years, the focus of my career has been building global cross-functional teams to develop drugs that help patients in need, mostly in oncology. Seeing the often long and complex development process which leads to approval by health authorities and adoption by clinicians is the ultimate reward.
3. What industry-wide drug discovery breakthrough has been most impactful to your research?
The approval of Lutathera and more recently Pluvicto has (re-)validated the concept of targeted radiopharmaceuticals and triggered significant scientific and financial interest in the field.
4. What has been the best piece of career advice you have received?
“Focus on (only do) the things you can do best” – In science, like in many other areas, the transition from subject matter expert to cross-functional manager and enterprise leader is not easy. Balancing involvement and delegation is key for the success of the project, the department, and eventually the company.
5. What advice would you offer someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Invest in a solid base and never forget the patient perspective. Technical and social skills are equally important. Selling drugs in Brooklyn and Queens, designing and executing a marketing campaign, global project management and corporate finance complemented my scientific and medical experience – equally important, if not more important, are the interpersonal skills I have acquired while working in several countries and across many cultures…and the learning never stops, so always stay curious!